Lawyers fight for a living, but usually on behalf of clients. One Monckton DUI lawyer, Wendell Maxwell, has been fighting New Brunswick’s Registrar of Motor Vehicles for some time now, and on his own behalf. The registrar seized his “DUI DR” licence plates last year.
Mr. Maxwell is an attorney specializing in impaired driving cases. The plates apparently refer to his service of attending to a DUI as a doctor would attend to a disease.
From the beginning there were complaints, including one from the family of a drunk driving victim. Mr Maxwell has already sued once to get the plates back, claiming that the plates merely describe what he does for a living, and should not be taken as promoting drunk driving.
The Registrar tried once again to snatch back the plates, on the grounds that they were issued erroneously. But the New Brunswick Court of Appeal rejected the plea.
And that makes sense. In a post on the brouhaha last year we noted that “The crime of DUI is not in the initials; it’s in the act of endangering people and property by driving a lethal machine when not in a condition to do so safely. It might be better to save the outrage for drunk drivers.”
And we think that still holds true. DUI attorneys are part of the Canadian legal system. They exist to ensure that a defendant gets a fair trial. Ultimately the problem on the roads is caused by people who drink and drive, not the lawyers who defend them.
Those who are worried that a DUI lawyer puts drunk drivers back on the roads should push for better ignition interlock laws. An ignition interlock, or car breathalyzer, prevents a vehicle from starting if the driver has been drinking. The devices prevent recidivism better than punishments, which makes them a boon to society.
Too bad “Use Ignition Interlocks” is too long for a vanity plate.